Last night while sitting at my desk in room #33 at the elegant Hotel Bonsejour I managed a short phoner with Far From The Madding Crowd‘s Michael Sheen. His touching, achey-breaky performance as William Boldwood, an older fellow of means who is sadly, genuinely crushed by the fact that he has no chance with Carey Mulligan‘s Bathsheda Everdeen, accomplishes something almost unique by making you feel real empathy. Mostly I tend to dismiss such characters in romantic dramas, but not this time. My heart went out. Sheen and I spoke of Boldwood’s situation and what Sheen, who hasn’t been this good since he played Tony Blair in The Queen, found and explored. Said it before, saying it again: Sheen’s Boldwood is the first male supporting performance in 2015 that can be called award-worthy.